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Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Unresponsive iPhone 6 Touchscreens

Thomas Davidson of Pennsylvania, Todd Cleary of California, and Jun Bai of Delaware have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple over an alleged defect that causes iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus touchscreens to become unresponsive and fail, according to court documents filed electronically this week.

The class action complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for Northern California, accuses Apple of violating California's consumer fraud statutes, through fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, and for violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.
Apple has long been aware of the defective iPhones. Yet, notwithstanding its longstanding knowledge of this design defect, Apple routinely has refused to repair the iPhones without charge when the defect manifests. Many other iPhone owners have communicated with Apple's employees and agents to request that Apple remedy and/or address the Touchscreen Defect and/or resultant damage at no expense. Apple has failed and/or refused to do so.

As a result of Apple’s unfair, deceptive and/or fraudulent business practices, owners of the iPhones, including Plaintiffs, have suffered an ascertainable loss of money and/or property and/or value. The unfair and deceptive trade practices committed by Apple were conducted in a manner giving rise to substantial aggravating circumstances.
The complaint, lodged by California law firm McCuneWright, LLP, seeks an order that requires Apple to repair, recall, and/or replace affected iPhones and to extend the warranties of those devices for a reasonable period of time. The plaintiffs also seek unspecified damages. A jury trial has been demanded.

The lawsuit cites repair website iFixit, which last week shared a blog post and video about the defect, nicknamed "touch disease." The defect presents as a gray flickering bar at the top of the screen and a display that's unresponsive or less responsive to touch. The problem is said to be caused by the touchscreen controller chips soldered to the iPhone's logic board losing contact after a period of normal usage.


The complaint specifically claims that Apple's failure to incorporate a "metal shield" or "underfill" over the logic board, as it did with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c respectively, makes the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus "substantially less durable to foreseeable and reasonable use by consumers and ultimately causes the touchscreen defect."

iPhone-5s-metal-shield
iFixit said the defect has affected a growing number of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners, citing its own repair shop colleagues and dozens of complaints on the Apple Support Communities. Multiple customers who brought their iPhones to Apple Stores were told that Apple doesn't recognize it as an issue and nothing could be done as their iPhones were no longer covered by warranty.

Update: Those that wish to join the class action lawsuit can contact law firm McCuneWright LLP here.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6s
Tag: lawsuit
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

9 months ago

Yes lets join in, pad the pockets of the lawyers, and get nothing ourselves.

I am sure there are plenty of people who Apple has helped, but we won't hear about it. It's nothing about media. In tech, compliments are rare, but when people feel shorted our culture appears to reward more for complaining.

Not defending Apple, but I am not sure what people are expecting on a failure that happens outside of Warranty. Granted, it would be poor for Apple to expect customers to foot the bill for such an expensive phone that isn't even 2 years old yet. Perhaps the iPhone 7 will have a 2 year base warranty?

We can only hope.


It's escalating quickly. In less than a week we've gone from #8 to #12. For those who are experiencing the problem hang in there... Apple should be admitting to it (#13) and offering a solution soon.


Here's the typical cycle for problems reported on Apple products:
1. A few members post reports of the problem, report it to Apple
2. No response from Apple
3. Increased number of people report the issue
4. No response from Apple
5. Apple apologists dismiss the reports as very rare, the result of trolling, or exaggeration by drama queens
6. Even more reports of the problem
7. No response from Apple
8. News of the problem hits blogs
9. Apple apologists dismiss the blogs as simply engaging in clickbait
10. No response from Apple
11. Those affected by the issue threaten a class-action lawsuit
12. Apple apologists decry the "sue happy" nature of American consumers
13. Apple acknowledges the legitimacy of the problem
14. Apple apologists are silent
15. Apple release an update to correct the problem
or
15a. They set up a "program" to address the problem.
16. Apple gains some positive publicity
17. Apple apologists applaud Apple for doing the "right thing". (for an issue that they said from day-1 was not actually an issue)
18. First hand experience with the “program” reveals very strict guidelines and restrictions that greatly reduce the number of affected customers that can participate in the program.
Rating: 16 Votes
9 months ago
Once again Apple must be forced into doing the right thing by its customers and cover this manufacturing/design defect for longer than the original stated warranty. It doesn't have to be this way Apple.
Rating: 16 Votes
9 months ago
"Apple doesn't recognize it as an issue". Now it will recognize for sure
Rating: 16 Votes
9 months ago
Good. When you spend $1000 on a phone, it should last more than 1 year and 10 months.
Rating: 14 Votes
9 months ago
They took some engineering shortcuts here; they should make it right. And by right I don't mean a refurb replacement as those suffer the same defect.
Rating: 13 Votes
9 months ago

Not defending Apple, but I am not sure what people are expecting on a failure that happens outside of Warranty.

People are expecting it to not fail catastrophically and irreparably after 2 years of normal use. They are expecting that it's performance would diminish gradually so they could either continue to use it for a little bit longer or sell it back for more than zero dollars to buy the latest, expensive, unsubsidized model in the wash-rinse-and-repeat cycle that keeps Apple making money.

A replacement that addressed the design issue or a trade-in credit equal to the phone's value had it NOT had the design issue would be a start.
Rating: 10 Votes
9 months ago


Here's the typical cycle for problems reported on Apple products:
...
13. Apple acknowledges the legitimacy of the problem
...


More like "Apple semi-acknowledges..." ;)

They almost always put out a press release with a statistic that was carefully chosen to make the problem seem rarer than it is. They tell the truth, but never the whole truth. E.g.:

--
For Bendgate, they were lucky enough that it happened in the first few days of the iPhone 6 release, so they were able to rush out a press release saying that "only nine" people had complained to Apple about bending. Of course, that ignored any complaints made to stores or carriers, and all the people who thought it was their fault, or simply had not gotten around to contacting anyone yet, or had read the news and were waiting to see what Apple was going to do.

Brilliant strategy, since even though the numbers would be in the thousands by now, Apple knows that many people will simply repeat the bogus "only nine" number... while they quietly fixed the problem in the next model.

--
Likewise with Antennagate, Jobs counted on smoke and mirrors with numbers. He dismissed any problem by commenting that, while the iPhone 4 did drop more calls that the 3GS, it amounted to "only one more dropped call per hundred." It sounded so minor that way.

He knew that no one would take the time to look up AT&T's average dropped call rate, which at the time was just over one call per hundred. So adding another call to that could easily mean almost doubling the dropped call rate. But that would've sounded horrible. So again, a brilliant piece of misdirection.
Rating: 9 Votes
9 months ago
To be honest, many class action suits are really dumb, but I think this one is pretty justified. It's a serious design flaw.
Rating: 8 Votes
9 months ago
This is going to be very interesting. I am not a lawyer, but this case will have the lawyers asking for all the information that Apple has had regarding the progression of the problem, including emails, notes etc. I will absolutely guarantee you that the timeline will make Apple look very bad. They have a bunch of smart guys. As soon as the problem surfaced, they knew what it was and they stonewalled it. I hope the jury takes this into account and assesses a penalty phase for a significant amount as a lesson to corporations that they have a responsibility to the consumer.
Rating: 7 Votes
9 months ago
Guilty under the Lemon Law for touch disease, cheap bendable aluminum, deficient 1GB DRAM, NAND defect, display defects, etc. If there's such a thing as a Lemon award for highest number of defects iPhone 6 series would clearly win. The only verdict is to recall all iPhone 6 series and replace with iPhone 6S series.
Rating: 7 Votes

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